The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will hold the first of at least six public hearings in a rare prime-time session Thursday evening to show the American public what they have learned so far about the riot and former President Donald Trump’s role.
The committee chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson, said last week that lawmakers plan to use a “combination of witnesses, exhibits, things that we have through the tens of thousands of exhibits we’ve […] looked at, as well as the hundreds of witnesses we deposed or just talked to in general.”
CBS News will broadcast the hearing as a Special Report on all CBS stations starting at 8 p.m., anchored by “CBS Evening News” anchor Norah O’Donnell. She will be joined by CBS News chief political analyst John Dickerson; chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa; chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes; chief national affairs and justice correspondent Jeff Pegues; and congressional correspondents Nikole Killion and Scott MacFarlane.
Committee aides said the first hearing will be treated like an opening statement, with committee members sharing their initial findings about the attack. They will also preview the next hearings.
“We will be revealing new details showing that the violence on Jan. 6 was the result of a coordinated, multi-step effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election and stop the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden, and indeed that President Donald Trump was at the center of that effort,” a select committee aide said. “We’ll remind people of what happened on that day. We’ll bring the American people back to the reality of that violence and remind them just how horrific it was.”
Capitol Riot-Hearings-Things to Know
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will go public with its findings starting Thursday, June 9.
J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE / AP
The committee plans to unveil “a whole lot of new material,” including previously unseen documents, video and audio it has obtained. The hearing will feature both in-person witnesses as well as taped testimony from witnesses the committee interviewed during the investigation. These witnesses include Trump White House officials, senior Trump administration officials, Trump campaign officials and Trump family members.
The committee has interviewed more than 1,000 individuals, gathered more than 140,000 documents and received nearly 500 “substantive” tips on its tip line. Members have spent nearly a year reviewing documents and hearing testimony from people ranging from former Trump officials to Capitol police to riot defendants.
Thursday’s hearing will be led by Thompson and Vice Chair Liz Cheney, committee aides said. An aide said that Thompson will “place Jan. 6 in a broader historical context and talk about what an aberration that day was in the history of American democracy.” Committee aides said there likely will be opening statements by Thompson and Cheney, followed by “substantive” multimedia presentations and then live witness testimony.
The committee will also make legislative recommendations on how to prevent another attack from happening.
The committee has also scheduled the next two public hearings for Monday, June 13, at 10 a.m. ET and Wednesday, June 15, at 10 a.m. ET.
J. Michael Luttig, a former judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, confirmed to CBS News that he has accepted an invitation to appear before the committee next week. “It will be an honor to testify before the January 6th committee,” he told CBS News.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is also set to appear at an upcoming hearing.
Cheney, one of only two Republicans on the committee, told “CBS Sunday Morning” she is confident what they found as a committee will make the American people wake up and pay attention.
“You know, we are not in a situation where former President Trump has expressed any sense of remorse about what happened,” Cheney said. “We are in fact in a situation where he continues to use even more extreme language, frankly, than the language that caused the attack. And so, people must pay attention. People must watch, and they must understand how easily our democratic system can unravel if we don’t defend it.”
The select committee announced Tuesday evening it planned to call two witnesses on Thursday: Nick Quested, a filmmaker who followed the Proud Boys on Jan. 6, and Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards, the first law enforcement officer injured by rioters storming the Capitol grounds. Edwards suffered a traumatic brain injury and has not been able to return to work since the attack, according to the committee.
Quested will likely face questions about the footage he shot both on the days leading up to Jan. 6 and on the day of the attack, when he followed a group of Proud Boys as they stormed the Capitol. The leader and four members of that far-right group are facing charges of seditious conspiracy.
James Goldston, who worked for nearly two decades at ABC News as an executive producer and eventually president of the news division, is helping the committee put together its presentation, which is expected to include audio and video elements.
Committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin told CBS News’ “Red & Blue” in May that the committee divided material up into chapters “that will allow for the unfolding of the narrative.”
The nine-person committee is comprised of seven Democrats and two Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi created the committee despite opposition from Republicans to investigate the origins of the attack, which took place after then-President Trump encouraged his supporters to “walk down” to the U.S. Capitol while the Electoral College votes were being counted. “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” he said. In the ensuing riot, five people died, including a Capitol police officer.
The Democratic-controlled House voted to impeach Trump one week later, but he was acquitted by the Senate.
Several of Trump’s closest supporters have appeared before the committee, including his children Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner. But others have refused to comply with subpoenas, including former chief of staff Mark Meadows and former adviser Steve Bannon, who has been charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the subpoena.